If the Saxons called a place old - and Aldbury means ‘old fort’ in Anglo-Saxon - then by now it must indeed be ancient We know that Aldbury was settled during the Bronze Age and that boundary dykes were dug by Iron Age men: a Roman road is alleged to have crossed the village. The Domesday Book records a manor at Aldbury, and by 1271 there were 68 households in the village. The population today, including the settlement at Tring station, is about 1000.
In the centre of the village are the green and pond, now quite shallow, but once used to provide water for farm stock. Beside the pond are the stocks and whipping post, a restored version of those used in Victorian times. Overlooking the green are the village shop, the Memorial Hall and the Greyhound, which has been an Inn for over 200 years. It now provides bed and breakfast accommodation. Teas are served at Town Farm opposite. The Valiant Trooper, which has also been a public house for two centuries, is at the end of Trooper Road.
The old elm that stood on the green, and still figures in local postcards, survives no longer - a victim of Dutch elm disease. The stocks and whipping post remain, however, worn by time into quaintness. When first erected during the last century they were probably not considered so picturesque. Near by, beyond the pond, stands the long, low, creeper-clad Greyhound pub, which makes an excellent starting or finishing point for a hike through the edge of the Chilterns.
The backdrop is the rising beechwoods of Ashridge Park, crowned at their summit by an urn on a Greek Doric column, a monument erected in 1832 to the canal-building 3rd Duke of Bridgewater. The foreground, about the green, is a charming collection of timber-framed, brick-and-tile cottages, mostly 16th and 17th century in origin. Among them is the tiny, tall-chimneyed village bakehouse.
The Church of St John the Baptist, with its flint-faced tower, stands a little way back from the green. The church, partly 13th century, incorporates the imposing Pendley Chapel, within which lie the late-medieval effigies of Sir Robert Whittingham and his lady. Sir Robert’s feet, for some reason, rest upon a wild man’.
A short distance from the village is Stocks House, home of the formidable Mrs Humphry Ward, the Victorian novelist, who was a vociferus opponent of women’s suffrage, yet was one I the first female magistrates. Her nephews, the .uxley brothers - Julian, the scientist, and ldous, the novelist - often stayed with her in is handsomely reThere are modern houses in Aldbury, and some dating back to the 16th century, many of them timbered. An excellent visitor's guide can be bought at the shop. Also on sale is a leaflet illustrating the network of footpaths around the village. Aldbury lies below the National Trust's Ashridge Estate and a path up the hill leads to the Bridgewater monument. modelled 18th-century house.